Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Wrap-Up | 2015 Edition

Well, we have officially reached the end of yet another month. I did not, unfortunately, beat my reading record. Last month, I read a total of 18 books and that's saying something because I was still in school last month. However, I had some slow reading progress this month, so that was an obvious setback.

Anyway, I have put all the books I have read in the month of June in a collage, but I will still leave a linked list below that'll take you to each of the books' Goodreads page.

Check out last month's wrap-up: May!

Monday, June 29, 2015

June Book Haul | 2015

Title: New Moon (Twilight, #2)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Published: September 6, 2006 by Little, Brown and Company
Source: Thrift Store
When the Cullens, including her beloved Edward, leave Forks rather than risk revealing that they are vampires, it is almost too much for eighteen-year-old Bella to bear, but she finds solace in her friend Jacob until he is drawn into a "cult" and changes in terrible ways.

 Title: Eclipse (Twilight, #3)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Published: August 7, 2007 by Little, Brown and Company 
Source: Thrift Store
Bella must choose between her friendship with Jacob and her relationship with Edward, but when Seattle is ravaged by a mysterious string of killings, the three of them need to decide whether their personal lives are more important than the well-being of an entire city.
Title: Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Published: August 2, 2008 by Little, Brown and Company
Source: Thrift Store
To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life—first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse—seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed . . . forever?
 Title: Unbelievable (Pretty Little Liars, #4)
Author: Sara Shepard
Published: May 1, 2008 by HarperTeen
Source: Thrift Store
Four girls living in a wealthy suburb discover the identity of a stalker who has been sending them shocking text messages, and uncover the mystery of who killed their childhood friend.
Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's
Source: Target
Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from stories, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal but Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. As her feelings toward him transform from hostility to a fiery passion, the threats against the faerie lands grow. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose Tamlin forever.

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 5, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Barnesandnoble.com
Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protégée of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.
Title: Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 4, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Bookoutlet.com
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret.

Title: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 17, 2014 by Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Bookoutlet.com
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Alina forges new alliances as she and Mal search for Morozova's last amplifier. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that alters her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields.
Title: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Author: Stephanie Perkins (Editor), Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White
Published: October 14, 2014 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Bookoutlet.com
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

Title: The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Published: September 18, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Barnesandnoble.com
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Title: This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Release Date: September 22, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead. His sweetheart, Mary—gone. His chance to break free of Geneva—lost. Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay.

Title: The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: April 1, 2012 by Scholastic
Source: Author
In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king's long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war.
Title: The Fold
Author: Peter Clines
Published: June 2, 2015 by Crown
Source: Publisher, Blogging for Books
The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.

That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.

The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe. Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret. As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys . . . everything.

A cunningly inventive mystery featuring a hero worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a terrifying final twist you’ll never see coming, The Fold is that rarest of things: a genuinely page-turning science-fiction thriller. Step inside its pages and learn why author Peter Clines has already won legions of loyal fans. 

Book Review: The Kill Order

Title: The Kill Order (The Maze Runner, #0.5)
Author: James Dashner
Published: August 14, 2012 by Delacorte Books
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Format: Paperback
Source: Bingo Game Prize
The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.


(Warning: Review contains spoilers!)

The Kill Order by James Dasher is the prequel to his New York Times bestselling series The Maze Runner. It tackles the origin of the sun flares and the deadly mutating virus that can turn anyone into a certified Crank. However, despite Dashner's clever idea to publish a prequel that'll provide a deeper insight to the aforementioned worldwide crisis that literally wiped out more than half of the planet's population, I honestly did not see the point of this book.

The tale of Mark and Alec and their friends thirteen years before WICKED was formed, I believe, is unnecessary. I get that it provides an explanation to the sun apocalypse thing and the virus called the Flare, but I think that a single scene from any of the three major books that explains it would have sufficed. Furthermore, I realized that The Kill Order is called the prequel for a very specific and obvious reason. I should have started the series marathon with this book because, now that I have grown too attached to the original charactersThomas, Teresa, Newt, MinhoI had a hard time getting myself fully engaged into the story. I felt like I was reading an entirely different book and not one that is part of The Maze Runner series.

Frankly speaking, Alec, the military veteran who I pictured as the mighty Dwayne Johnson despite his contextual physical description, did not get enough credit. The book's synopsis made it sound like Trina's the second-in-command, the Newt to Mark's Thomas, when Alec has been a part of the story ninety-five percent of the time. He has played a huge and important role in the book, so should he have at least earned a rightful recognition in the synopsis?

Another thing that I did not like about The Kill Order, and probably the thing that I dislike the most, is the "cult." It seems very strange to me and so out of place. When it was first introduced in the book, I literally scrunched my eyebrows trying to make some sense of their purpose or role in the entire book. I know that they are the crazy settlers, the people whom the little girl Deedee was raised with, but . . . what about them, really? I saw no connection.

Perhaps the only thing that I truly like about this book is the evident consistency that Dasher webbed into his booksor this series in particular. If Thomas has been recalling memories through his dreams, Mark has been as well. Setting aside completely the prologue and the epilogue, I think that this parallelism between Thomas and Mark is the only thing that is still reminding me of the connection between The Kill Order and The Maze Runner. In addition to this, even though I deemed the prequel unnecessary, I still like the fact that I at least have an overview of how Teresa, or Deedee for that matter (I ruined it now, didn't I? I did warn you), fell into the hands of an organization that in the future will be known as WICKED.

I would not actually recommend this book. As I have mentioned before, the story of Mark is quite inessential, and there aren't really much that you should know before delving into The Maze Runner series. I'd say just jump right into it and come back to me after you've finished page 250 of The Death Cure, so we can both bawl our eyes out in pure heartbreak.

✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖


James Dashner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, as well as the Mortality Doctrine series, the 13th Reality series, and two books in the Infinity Ring series: A Mutiny in Time and The Iron Empire. He was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.

✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖

Saturday, June 27, 2015

From Books to Films: 'The Scorch Trials' Trailer Review

Since I've been marathoning James Dashner's The Maze Runner series, I figure that it would be wise to at least say something regarding The Scorch Trials being adapted into a movie. I've seen the first film, thought it was amazing, read the book a year later, and then realized that the screenwriters haven't been very loyal to the original plot. And now that The Scorch Trials movie adaptation is scheduled to hit theaters in September 18 of this year, I am expecting that this time around, the movie will somehow, someway, end up just as how the book is. However, from what I have read from the comments in YouTube, there are some parts in the trailer that hinted that the writers did not, apparently, stayed loyal to the plot.

Nevertheless, this series being one of my new favorites (kudos to The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure for altering my opinion about the books), I am more than excited to watch this film, especially to see the new characters being added into the story.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Review: The Death Cure

Title: The Death Cure (The Maze Runner, #3)
Author: James Dashner
Published: October 11, 2011 by Delacorte Press
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Format: Paperback
Source: Bingo Game Prize
It’s the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

Will anyone survive?

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.

✮ ✮ ✮ ✮ 

(Warning: Review contains spoilers!)

The Death Cure by James Dashner is a lot of things: it is fast-paced, action-packed, comical, intense, suspenseful, clever, but most of all, it has the utter capability to make you emotionally unstable (just wait until you get to page 250.)

One of the first few things that I personally liked about the book is the fact that Dashner wrote Newt as one of the Gladers who aren't immune to the Flare. This is a bittersweet thought because Newt is absolutely my most favorite character in the entire series, so knowing that he can be gone any time soon is definitely heartbreaking, but at the same time, Newt acting like a Crank is a "refreshing" sight to see—an unexpected change, so to speak. This other side of him, this glue that used to bind his group together rapidly becoming undone, is one of the many twists that I never would have foreseen in the beginning.

Brenda began to grow on me. As I have mentioned in my The Scorch Trials book review, she comes out as questionable for me—having little to no knowledge of her background whatsoever—but she's leisurely growing, developing, in The Death Cure. It is like with every move or every action she takes is an effort to prove her worth to me, or to anyone who was a little dubious about her at first. I really like how I can finally connect to her in a way that I can actually imagine all the hard work she has to go through just so she can earn Minho's and Newt's trust—or everyone's trust generally.

Most of the scenes in the book are so intense and at the same time agonizing—in a good way. Dashner keeps coming at his audience with all these dynamic twists and turns, and I just want to keep reading in order to produce an explanation for this one particular thing or that one other thing. They are all so zealous, a nail-biting suspense, but then I still have these bazillion paragraphs before the actual revelation, so I constantly found myself skipping over some words and completely spoiling myself (which is a terrible thing to do because in my case, I found out that my favorite character was going to die even before I got to that part.)

What I did not like about the book is the fact that it gave me so many emotions. There are too many deaths, and I'm not even going to deny that they affected me greatly. More than what I would have initially liked to. Newt's death, specifically. I can never think of page 250 the same way ever again. As I have mentioned before, Newt is my most favorite character in the book, so reading about his death wrenched my heart in so many ways. Don't get me wrong, I feel so happy about the remaining characters making it through the very end—especially Frypan—but my mind is constantly thinking, my heart constantly aching for Newt, and the others who have died, and all of the what-could-have-beens.

I have to say, I've finally seen the beauty of Dashner's writing style. This author knows how to take your emotions to one hell of a roller coaster ride. And trust me, you'll be too attached to the characters to even want to wish the ride will stop so you can get off.

There's not much that I can say regarding my recommendation, but if you are on the hunt for a book that will play your emotions like it's some puppet or a dummy, The Death Cure by James Dashner is the one for you. It has toyed with mine so much that I am still attempting to get over what I have just read. The first book did not appeal to me as much as I expected it would, but as I progressively got deeper into the series and got to know more about the characters, I have begun to learn how to love the The Maze Runner series.

✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖


James Dashner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, as well as the Mortality Doctrine series, the 13th Reality series, and two books in the Infinity Ring series: A Mutiny in Time and The Iron Empire. He was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.

Website | Goodreads Page | Twitter
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review: The Scorch Trials

Title: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner, #2)
Author: James Dashner
Published: October 12, 2010 by Delacorte Press
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Format: Paperback
Source: Bingo Game Prize
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn't done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

✮ ✮ ✮  ½

(Warning: Review may contain spoilers!)

Upon starting The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, the second installment in The Maze Runner series, I fully admit that I was a little ambivalent about the book. The first one was sort of daring in a limited level, and it candidly wasn't my most favorite book in the series so far, but The Scorch Trials have managed to alter my opinion about the series.

The first thing that I noticed right away is that the beginning chapters are already jam-packed with my most sought after starting action, laced with immediate mystery. Dashner's writing has significantly improved from The Maze Runner, with effective diction and sentence structure, and already exhilarating his audience with an expeditious fast-paced narration.

One of the things that made me like The Scorch Trials is that it kind of has an I Am Legend-esque appeal to it. If the Maze has Grievers, the unforgiving Scorch has Crankscitizens that are highly affected with the sun virus the government are calling the Flare. They have grotesque and gruesome appearances, with their burnt skins, angry scabs and wounds, missing noses, and et cetera. The Cranks, at least the ones who are beyond gone from the Flare infection, are like the zombies that are constantly hungry for some human flesh.

Another thing that made me like this book more than The Maze Runner is that the plot line is so riveting and very dynamic to the point that every chapter has an unforeseeable happening. The constant mystique that surrounds Thomas and Teresa and their true involvement with WICKED is even more bemusing and yet beguiling. The characters, whether old or new, are so twisted in their own different ways, I legitimately could not figure out anymore who are the ones with the halos and who are the ones with the horns and pointy tails. The element of uncertainty, one of the things that I like the most about books, is continually present from cover to cover and it will truly challenge your moral judgement. Because just like the characters in the book, your loyalty to your friends (or in your case, your favorite character/s) will be tested as well.

However, despite all the great things that I adore about the second book in the series, the lone thing that did not appeal to me is Brenda's character. Frankly speaking, I felt uncertain whether she's someone incorruptible or not, and my mind's been debating about that circa the chapter she was first introduced as Jorge's right hand. She's a little "shady" for me, so to say. I feel like I don't have a clear knowledge of who she is as an individual. She has no background for me, just someone who has a "too forward" kind of personality. I had a hard time connecting with her.

As far as recommending the book, The Scorch Trials is a good novel to pick up if you are looking for an intense and suspenseful action-packed read. Nevertheless, wryly speaking, it is definitely not the perfect book to pick up during the summer because . . . Well, it's summertime, temperatures are reaching the hundreds; I'm pretty sure you don't want to read a book that is set in a terribly burnt up placed called the Scorch. Trust me, I learned the hard way. You'll be "scorching"(wink, wink) along with the book.

✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖


James Dashner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, as well as the Mortality Doctrine series, the 13th Reality series, and two books in the Infinity Ring series: A Mutiny in Time and The Iron Empire. He was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.

Website | Goodreads Page | Twitter
✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖ ✖

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Title: The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, #1)
Author: James Dashner
Published: October 6, 2009 by Delacorte Press
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Format: Paperback
Source: Bingo Game Prize
If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

✮ ✮  ½

(Warning: Review may contain spoilers!)

To tell the truth, I expected a lot from this book, especially that the idea of a maze that changes every night is a highly intriguing concept. The movie adaptation, which I now realized did not entirely stayed loyal to the book, also did not help as I previously thought it was an awesome film (What, did you expect me to not like it when I can see Dylan O'Brien's and Thomas Brodie-Sangster's face for the entire duration of the movie?). However, now that I've finally had the time to pick up The Maze Runner by James Dashner and have perused it over the course of three days (three days, can you believe that? I've never gone that long to finish a book!), I realize that perhaps I expected too greatly.

When I first started reading the book, I candidly did not enjoy it. I constantly found myself reading one or two chapters, then closing the book to go and do something else. I did not relish the first several chapters because I think that the story is going too slow for me. The narration goes at a plodding pace. There is a lot of repetition going on, mostly the parts where Dashner keeps mentioning how Thomas can remember the basics of life, like, what a hamburger is, what theatres are, but he cannot remember his family, his home, or who Thomas was with when he ate a hamburger or when he went to the theatre to catch a movie. Nonetheless, by somewhere near the middle of the book, when the actual content of the Maze is finally involved, that is when I found myself resisting the temptation to put the book down and give my eyes its much needed rest. The characters are suddenly interlaced with a lot of action and mystery and puzzling clues, which are often times the key elements that I always look for in a good book.

The Maze, overall, is one clever idea. Dashner has managed to create this harrowing puzzle that changes course every night, and is filled with ghastly creatures called Grievers. However, as slick as the idea is, I honestly feel like I would have liked The Maze Runner better had Thomas and his co-Runner Minho did not move in one specific area in the Maze. The route to the Cliff seems to be too "easy," so to say. I get itI get that Minho have been mapping the Maze for two years and have the entire route memorized, thus the Cliff being easy to navigate, but I personally think that it would be more adventurous if the other sections of the Maze were also explored, not just mentioned. I think that it would have made the Maze sound even more intimidating and difficult.

Dashner's writing is simple with few prosaic similes. His choice of wording and sentence structure is easy to read, nevertheless, lacking words that sound almost too foreign that you have to pick up a dictionary as though to make sure the word actually exists in the English languagewhich is a good thing because, hey, less time browsing through the dictionary and more time to indulge in the story! Dashner's characters, however, have a certain vocabulary that is kind of hard to understand in the beginning. Words like "shank," "splinthead," "shuck-face," "Greenie," and "klunk," were honestly hard for me to get used to. It makes me wonder how the early habitants of the Glade came up with those wordshow they came up with their own language.

Notwithstanding the specific things that I did not like about the book, I cannot help but admire how Thomas's character can evoke emotions so easily. As I was reading the book, I felt irritated sometimes at Thomas's constant nagging, but it's so understandable because if you would just put yourself in Thomas's shoes, you'll also be asking tons of queries about what is going on. The way I see it, it is always good for an author to elicit emotions from their audiencewhether it be sympathy, anger, irritation, love, or whatever, because that's when you would know that your writing is working. It's doing something that makes it capable of producing such reactions from their readers. Dashner is able to work that magic with me because I found it easy to connect with Thomas, to Newt, and to the other characters, no matter how shallow and cruel they seemed to be in the book.

As far as recommending The Maze Runner, if you are someone who is looking for a book with little to no romance at all and you just want to read something adventurous, The Maze Runner is the perfect novel to pick up. It may start out slow, but it eventually picks up pace once the real deal begins. Although I did not enjoy the book as much as I imagined I would, The Maze Runner is still promising with its heart-pounding action scenes and mystery that makes you want to either stay clear of the Maze or enter it and face the horror it houses.

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James Dashner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, as well as the Mortality Doctrine series, the 13th Reality series, and two books in the Infinity Ring series: A Mutiny in Time and The Iron Empire. He was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains.

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